Automatic transmissions are, to many, a mysterious aspect of automotive mechanics. Torque converters, on the same hand, are a mystery shrouded within a mystery. Here’s a basic rundown of how torque converters work, and how to know if yours is failing, from American Auto Clinic in Albuquerque, NM.

Essentially, a torque converter isn’t much more than a fluid coupling device. Consider two fans facing each other; When you power one fan up, it blows air onto the other fan, which forces the blades on that fan to begin turning as well. Obviously, this is an oversimplification, but this is the principle theory behind how a torque converter works - only, instead of air providing motion, transmission fluid is the medium of transfer.

Your engine spins the torque converter. As the engine spins faster, it applies exponentially increasing force to the turbine, which spins the input shaft of your transmission, and your wheels start to turn. Most torque converters are also equipped with a lockup piston, which “locks up” the torque converter, increasing the efficiency of power output.

So where does it go wrong? While torque converters are overall reliable and durable, there are issues that occasionally surface. The fins that direct and receive fluid can become distorted, bent, or separated internally, dramatically decreasing the performance and efficiency of the torque converter. The lining on the lockup piston can become worn or separated, causing it to slip, or the piston plate itself can become warped or broken. The housing can also become distorted or cracked, leaking fluid and causing a variety of problems. Issues typically arise as a result of age, overheating, or prolonged use in power applications or towing.

Whatever the cause, issues manifest themselves in different ways. Bad torque converters will slip, fail to engage at the correct engine RPM, grind and make other noises at idle or at speed, and so on. Often a failing torque converter will seem like total transmission failure; an indicator of the importance of this component.

If you’re experiencing torque converter issues, and for all your other maintenance and repair needs, our professional technicians and transmission specialists have you covered. For the best transmission service shop in Albuquerque, NM, call or stop by American Auto Clinic today.


Thank you for visiting American Auto Clinic in Albuquerque, NM. Count on our automotive repair technicians to keep your car, truck, suv, or van on the roads longer and safer.

Schedule your appointment today CALL: (505) 884-2303

  • Jasper
  • 24-Hour Dropoff
  • Acdelco
  • Air Lift Tow and Haul
  • American Muscle
  • Arca
  • Ari Fleet
  • Asa
  • ASE
  • ATRA
  • Auto Zone
  • B&W Trailer Hitches
  • BF Goodrich
  • BG Products
  • Bosch Automotive
  • Bridgestone Firestone
  • Bully Dog
  • Bumper to Bumber
  • Be Car Care Aware
  • cbCharge Fleet Financing
  • Cooper Tires
  • Cummins Diesel
  • Customer Savings
  • Donlen Fleet
  • Draw-Tite Hitches
  • Dunlop Tires
  • Duramax Diesel
  • Element Fleet
  • Enterprise Fleet
  • FASS
  • Fleet Services
  • GE Capital Fleet
  • Goodyear
  • Ford Power Stroke Diesel
  • Handicap Accessible
  • Hankook Tires
  • Hunter
  • iATN
  • Kelly Tires
  • LMC Truck
  • LeasePlan Fleet
  • Magnuson
  • Michelin
  • Mastercraft
  • Mobil Oil
  • Motorcraft Parts
  • NAPA AutoCare Center
  • NFIB
  • Pet Friendly
  • Reese Hitches
  • Shuttle Service
  • Sinister Diesel
  • State Inspection
  • Sumitomo Tires
  • Synchrony
  • Tires
  • Towing
  • Toyo
  • Uniroyal
  • 12 Month Warranty
  • WEX Fleet
  • Wifi Available